Gone With The Wind Book

2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.

Did Rhett Butler and India Wilkes celebrate their birthdays together?

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Two “Rhetts”from Gone With The Wind had the same birthday.

By Sally Tippett Rains, Author of The Making of a Masterpiece, the True Story of Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind

Courtesy Kathleen Marcaccio…Did you know Clark Gable and Alicia Rhett shared the same birthday? 113 years ago on Feb. 1 the King of Hollywood who played Rhett Butler was born; and 99 years ago, Alicia Rhett who played India Wilkes made her debut into this world.

Did they celebrate their birthdays together during filming that started in January of 1939?

Probably not, remember she was discovered through George Cukor’s tour of the South, and Gable was at odds with Cukor who was fired about a month into production.

The characters of Rhett Butler and India Wilkes were in several of the same scenes but did not have any on-screen interaction between them. The first one was the Wilkes Barbecue. It was India who, with her father John Wilkes “received their guests” and greeted the O’Hara sisters as they stepped out of their carriage with their father.

At this point Rhett Butler has not arrived and he makes his grand entrance when Scarlett notices him from the top of the stairway:

Scarlett: Cathleen, who’s that man staring at us? The nasty dog.

Cathleen Calvert: Why that’s Rhett Butler, he’s from Charleston.

Scarlett: He looks as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy!

The guests mingle, the women take naps and Rhett Butler discusses the war with the men.

“I think it’s hard winning a war with words, gentlemen. . . . I’m saying very plainly that the Yankees are better equipped than we. . . . All we’ve got is cotton and slaves, and arrogance.”

And then he abruptly leaves after he realizes: “I seem to be spoiling everybody’s brandy and cigars and dreams of victory.”

Another scene they could have been together in is the wedding scene of Scarlett O’Hara and Charles Hamilton. Since India’s brother Ashley Wilkes’ wife Melanie’s brother Charles married Scarlett (did you get that?) she might have been on the guest list and could have wound up on the cutting room floor.

Rhett Butler and India Wilkes were both at the bazaar where Scarlett scandalized herself by dancing while she was supposed to be “in mourning”. They were also in the last scene together where India and Rhett waited along with Aunty Pitty, Ashley and son Beau, and Scarlett outside the bedroom where Melanie was dying.

The beginning scenes were directed by George Cukor and filmed around the February First birthday for Gable and Alicia Rhett. There was so much negativity surrounding Gable and Selznick regarding Cukor and then Cukor being replaced by Victor Fleming, it is doubtful there was much on-set celebrating around that time.

However, according to a friend of Rhett’s from Charleston, Alicia Rhett was very complimentary of Gable, “she told me Gable was ‘charming.'”

The first two months of 1939 were very tumultuous times for Gable as he was trying to divorce his wife Ria, who didn’t cooperate at first. He probably spent his birthday with Carole Lombard who he eventually wed in March that year– during a brief break he took from Gone With the Wind.

And chances are if Alicia Rhett had time to celebrate it would have been with her mother who had traveled with her from South Carolina to stay with her during the filming.

Celebrate Clark Gable and Alicia Rhett both by watching Gone With the Wind tonight (Sat. Feb. 11, 2014) on TCM.

——–

Gone With the Wind fans can subscribe to this blog and for more information on The Making of a Masterpiece, the True Story of Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind click here: http://www.GWTWBook.com

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4 comments on “Did Rhett Butler and India Wilkes celebrate their birthdays together?

  1. Linda
    February 1, 2014

    Question: How could Ms. Rhett be a teenager during filming if she was born 99 years ago? Wouldn’t that put her in her 20’s? Linda

  2. gwtwbook
    February 1, 2014

    Thank you so much for reading my blog Linda. Congratulations you are better at math than I am. She was in her 20’s. I will change the blog, but for those who subscribe and may not see the change, she was born Feb. 1, 1915, so on Feb. 1, 1939 – the year the movie came out she turned 24. So along with the cake they could have had wine.

  3. James L. Tumblin
    February 2, 2014

    The fact is – especially for anyone familiar with Gone With The Wind – Clark Gable and Alicia Rhett did share another on-screen time together. This occurs in the home of Melanie Wilkes when Rhett Butler visits unannounced, in an effort to save people from possible harm from the Yankees. Rhett asks Melanie the whereabouts of Frank Kennedy and Ashley Wilkes…to which India replies that she doesn’t “trust” him! This was accomplished/filmed in a “3 shot” setup (in closeup!) which included all 3: Gable, deHavilland and Alicia Rhett.

    I, too, was fortunate to have known Alicia for several years, having been introduced to her by our mutual friend Kay Brown. As a frequent overnight guest at her beautiful home on Tradd Street in Charleston, we spent countless hours discussing her role in Gone With The Wind. It was because of our friendship, that I was able to introduce Fred Crane to Alicia Rhett for, although they had both worked on the film, they had never met. Once, when I pressed her as to why she “never continued in pictures, she coyly smiled and replied; “…because I never had the figure.” to which I hardily disagreed!

  4. gwtwbook
    February 2, 2014

    Thanks for reading my article James. You are right, they were all in that scene together. I watched it again on Saturday night and that scene always gets me on the edge of my seat with the clock ticking and Melanie reading. Alicia Rhett’s character was usually scowling and she had lines like “You stupid fool.” You were lucky to know her. It’s great to hear from those who knew her– and speak so highly of her, I thought it was interesting they had their birthdays the same day and just wanted to do a short, fun article about that. My point was that in the early scenes which would have been near the Feb. first birthday dates they weren’t in scenes together, but then if I was going to point out the last scene, I should have used the one you mentioned as it was certainly memorable.

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2014 by in Alicia Rhett, Clark Gable, Rhett Butler, Uncategorized.

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